The Wrap Vol 2, #18 — The Future of Sports & Fitness
Making Sense of the Frontiers oF What We: Play, Participate In, Train For, Fan & Follow, Lead, Experience, Watch, Expect from, Dream About & X Factors
GSG News Edition- Volume #2, Edition #18 | 7 May, 2022
Lead Editor: Sean Moffitt |Join us for the Live Event & Discussion Sunday
“Do you know what my favorite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.” — Mike Singletary
We get it. we really do. Why dedicate a forum for making sense of the world’s biggest challenges and next Grey Swans on something so banal, every day and for some boorish as the world of sport. Why dedicate mind time and cognitive real estate on something so superficial as muscles and tenue and as unhygienic as gym bags and sweat. Ew.
We get it. we lionize sports figures over scientists saving the world. We idolize people with amazing capacities for spatial intelligence and muscular dexterity, over the literary masters, cultural virtuosos and elite minds. We glorify competition versus vaunting what's common to 99.9% of us. We spend precious time and attention on pretend wars of sport, while we carve so little space in our collective for the very real wars going on in the world. We role model after athletes who have felonies as long as their torsos, over parents and local heroes who shape our lives. Even the most ardent among us roll our eyes at the titanic struggle between apparent good and evil, hero & villain, titan and underdog.
Many of us are passionate about the worlds of sports & fitness. Perhaps a little dysfunctionally and unnaturally so. This time of year is not helping. Here we are at the start of May and the zenith of sports and fitness is happening right now. Baseball is in full bloom and every team still has a chance. Premier League/La Liga/Bundesliga is wrapping up and we get the Champions League and FIFA World Cup behind it. Pro basketball and hockey are both in the early throes of their playoffs. American Football has just had its college draft and visions of grandeur dance in our gridiron-laden heads. At least in the Northern Hemisphere (particularly true of my northernly outpost of Canada) , people are jogging, biking, sailing, gardening, walking, and holding serve and bombing drives. It is an embarrassment of sporting riches, a crescendo of fitness passions, a cavalcade of active leisure. And why? And why do some of us love it so much, despite our important non-sporting imperatives & distractions.
Sports matters. It reflects who we are, It provides us escape. An outlet for our enthusiasm and passions. It builds character (see the video in our tapestry if you want to get a little misty) and reveals character. It connects us to others like no other way. It teaches us important aspects of competition & collaboration. It allows us to connect locally.
It takes us away, even for a brief moment, from the commoners of each repeating dream, to lift and repurpose a quote from Dani Rojas of breakout soccer-based comedy-drama Ted Lasso “football is life”. Expand your aperture even further Dani — “Sports is Life”.
We looked at the 100+ top quotes about sport (see our separate post) and this is what lessons they want to impart us:
Top 11 List — Why We Learn, Get Inspired and Love Sports:
#1 Sports is about sportsmanship — it teaches us to learn to play fairly, the honour of shaking the hand and acknowledging that you’ve beaten
#2 Sports is about the pursuit of excellence — trying to go faster, stronger, further, longer
#3 Sports builds resilience — to endure the agony of defeat and to get back up to try again
#4 Sports is about teamwork and collaboration — no one wins or loses alone
#5 Sports is escape — the daily, pulse-raising enjoyment the delight of winning a tackle, a vault or a tournament, or living those same things vicariously through our favourite athletes
#6 Sports is a mirror on ourselves — it reveals our culture and character
#7 Sports is about hope and surprise — the start of every sporting year brings the prospect of ambition, possibility, serendipity and chance
#8 Sports is loyalty and rooting for a cause and purpose — the float of being a fan of a team to do your part in the win
#9 Sports is arts and culture for the masses — the beauty and drama of the human form honed to be the best at any sport
#10 Sports is commitment and effort — the appreciation of the commitment to strength, sharpen and speed your body and mind to do something no other one can achieve
#11 Sports is accomplishment and progress — against a standard (e.g. the 4 minute mile), vs. others (e.g. most Grand Slams), amongst ourselves (e.g. national medal counts) and within ourself (e.g. personal bests) — the elevation beyond yourself in any long campaign of competition
Let’s take in nine innings of the future of sports and fitness (maybe some extra innings too) and discuss how culture, trends and technology affect the future of the sports, fitness, games, leisure and pastimes that we love to:
Similar to the cultures and marketplaces we reflect and live in, sometimes progress represents advancement, sometimes it's neutral and sometimes it represents a threat. Let’s go through them all.
Citius, Altius, Fortius — Communiter — In Futuro!
Oh and don’t stay on the sidelines. Join us for the Wrap on Clubhouse… this Sunday.
Topics that will find their home below:
The sport of 2040, the venue of 2050, sports in space, Gender, betting, the state of gyms and home fitness, e*sport, public space, next new sport, covid effects, decentralization, college sport implosion, genetics, bionics, data explosion, automated umpiring, the downside of tech, leisure time, public space, elite mental health, psychedelics, global followings, female pro sport, Russia boycotting of country and athletes. Transgender participants, new doping, robot gladiator wars, Formula E racing, Ted Lasso, Bitcoin betting, Drake,6 figure sports bets, NFTs speculation as a substitute for sports, professional eSports superstars,.the rise of twitch coverage, streaming eSports... LoL, Doda, Call of Duty, Robinhood, again stock trading sublimating betting on sports. money as a sport. The splitting of attention, are there really any major league, starting kids in elite sports at 4 years old, MTHL hockey parents, video coaches making 6 figure salaries, Cameo as a revenue stream for retired athletes. The passing of Lafleur and Bossey on and off the ice. Lafleur and State Funeral. Literally lying in state at the new Forum.
The 1st Inning — Play
The Pro Game — Shifts, Rules, Advancements, Elite Performance
- Automated Referring & Umpiring — it’s time has come. When we tolerate up to 25% error in human-based arbitrating of important sports decisions, we need a better way. It’s worked in tennis, other sports are next.
- The Plant-Based Athlete — is it possible? Have a review.
- The line between sports, entertainment and gaming is indeed blurring — find out why and how EA is at epicentre:
- EA’s earnings nearly doubled between Q2 2021 and Q2 2022,
- EA has M&A activity — $2.1B for mobile developer Glu Mobile, $1.4B for Playdemic and its $1.2B for racing game company Codemasters
- EA has has 100MM fans inside its FIFA franchise over the last 6 months
- EA sights are on hitting over 500MM fans over the next two years
- EA has just built out a creator network
4. The future of the Olympics and the imbalance of host city/country risk and IOC benefits. In 2021- Tokyo spent $15.1Billion on the Olympics. In 2021 — IOC turned a tidy profit of $74MM on revenues of $5.3 Billion. This can’t continue. What will the Olympics look like in 2040?
The 2nd Inning — Participation
Amateurs, Weekend Warriors and Kids — Trends, Performance, Social
- Are your sneakers in the Metaverse? A cavalcade of sports brands are going there. But why? Here are some starter thoughts form the Sports Metaverse. Has our digital life become just as important as our real life?
- Societal health is backing up. We have become less physically fit than we have ever been — our resting metabolic rates are 6% less than they were in 1820 equating to 30 minutes less exercise than 200 years ago. What are the implications of being less healthy than we’ve even been?
- eSports is taking root. The ten most popular e-sports games …and if you are sports fan they are not what you think.
- #1 Counterstrike — 13k professional players
- #2 League of Legends — 7k professional players
- #3 Fortnite — 4k professional players
- #4 DOTA — 4k professional players
- #5 Overwatch — 3k professional players
- #6 Hearthstone — 100 million registered players
- #7 Rocket League — 50 million registered players
- #8 Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege — 40 million players
- #9 PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PubG) — 400 million total players
- #10 FIFA — 50 million players.
The 3rd Inning — Training
Fitness, Health, Nutrition
- The Future of Fitness is Gamified and Technologied. Traditional gyms are on the ropes, home fitness has found traction during the pandemic. The new fitness advocate wants their performance to be measured, gamified and visual at their finger tips. We are on in the Peloton era now. Others may inherit it’s wobbly chalice and find themselves in your living room. Now that this liminal period of COVID is opening up the world again, the thought is our future gym might be hybrid. Here are ten trends on the horizon.
- Technology and your fitness is growing up. The three themes of the recent FitTech Summit:
- Big Tech Attack: How will tech giants or major tech innovations from other industries impact the fitness & health world? #bighealth #blockchain #fintech
- The Interface Race: What types of device form-factors will win the race for the real estate of our homes — and bodies? #fitnessmirrors #sleeptech #smartapparel
- Me, Myself and AI: How is artificial intelligence augmenting the relationship we have to our bodies? #femfittech #transhumanism #fitfiction
3. Could gene editing be the end of sport? With our ongoing drive to crush records, advancements in biotechnology and genetics and people’s incentive to game for personal and family success, will we be manufacturing our athletes from the future from birth. The future is fragile.
The 4th Inning — Fanship & Followership
Connection, Love and Manics
- The relationship between Athletes and Fan is a Fraught One. Will these improve? Will they get worse? Or will athletes bypass them all together? Seen through the lens of a dispute.
- What does Vegas become without a monopoly on gambling? Is the future of Las Vegas pivoting from gambling on sporting events to hosting big sporting events? Some thoughts …what happens in Vegas, I guess no longer stays in Vegas.
- The decoupling of athletic performance and sport earning potential. Earnings can be based on fame, personality and more social media influenced traits. Should an athlete’s earning be based on performance and contribution to winning or based on fame, popularity and ability to sell tickets?
The 5th Inning — Leadership
The Industry, Economics, Business Models, Revenue Health, Partnerships and Sponsorships
1. College Sports is showing its emperor’s clothes — a death knell for collegiate sports is around the corner, where the state’s football team’s head coach is the top state paid employee, where poor and urban youth are exploited for institutional & commercial gain and where a toxic gumbo of “win at all costs” need to come to an end. Student athletes can now make wealth off their likeness, other less exploitative interventions are on the way, keeping school for learning and professional sport for performance.
2. Women in Sports Leadership? Who will be the first professional general manager in top 5 professional male sports.
3. Subscription models in sport. The Athletic has a pretty good go of it in subscription-based sports journalism until being bought by ESPN. When will we Netflix-ify our sporting selves and get off the cable provider model altogether? Can we subscribe, crowd equity or invest in our favoured athletes.
4. Valuations of sports franchises has gone stratospheric — five reasons why they will continue and five reasons why they won’t. Sportico just reported on Knicks and Warriors being worth $6B plus. Where does this all head?
Five reasons why they will continue to grow:
- loosening of equity access allows voting control structure for owners while a piece of the action for Wall Street and recreational fan
- ancillary revenue streams via tangential to and non-basketball commercial, residential and lifestyle brand ventures
- streaming and other game-related experiences develop online as a revenue not just marketing channel, (this includes sone genuine not speculative form of NFTs)
- global footprint of team fan bases knows no geographic boundary
- implantation of a type of UK soccer club culture — community focused missions that bring people into their team cradle to grave, importantly women
Five reasons why they will not continue to grow:
- longer term consumer trends into esports and alternative gaming, many of those properties are not traditional sports-driven, expertise exists outside of basketball
- fan revolt — tired of decisions being business focused, increasing lack of parity for the lower 75% teams, in-venue access prices audiences out
- declining TV numbers can’t be recaptured in streaming entities revenue numbers
- increasing societal challenges and transparency about the star “hero” athlete — the Barkley quote — I don’t want to be a role model for your child
- top 20% of players (90 professionals) break off and form own league seeing wealth disparity and seeking wealth opportunity for themselves
The 6th Inning — The Live Experience
Venues, Fan Experience, Generations
- What have sports learned over the course of a pandemic. We are not returning to the before world. It turns our sports is more resilient than we think.
The 7th Inning — The Viewing Experience
Watch from Anywhere, Broadcast, Narrowcast, Home Viewing Environment
The 8th Inning — Expectations
Values, Cultural Learnings, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion
- Let’s have the uncomfortable debate — the transgendered athlete and gender treatment in sport in general. How do rights for all intersect with unfair treatment for female athletes? What is a solution everybody can be happy with?
- Let’s have another uncomfortable debate. Should we ban athletes from warring countries, regardless of their stance on their nation’s activities.
The 9th Inning — Dreams
Innovation, Invention, Speculative Design & Fiction
- Sport in 2040? Let’s loosen our minds what does the future of sport look like. What are the new wrinkles on old games? What are the completely new sports? What is the pace of play? Jessica Gelman, CEO, Kraft Analytics Group, Daryl Morey, President of Basketball Operations, Philadelphia 76ers, Nate Silver, Statistician, Author and Founder FiveThirtyEight, Katie Nolan Host, ESPN and Bill James, famed SABRmetrician debate.
2. Is the Future of Betting in eSports? Sports bettering is now surging 25x what is was even 4 years ago. Here is the argument for eSports being the new frontier.
3. What Sports will be played in space? Even since Buzz Aldrin hit a golf ball on the moon, we might have pondered in the corners of our mind. What will be play in future planets? Dodgeball? Frisbee Golf? Space games are on the way.
Extra Innings — A Tapestry of Sports & Fitness
Videos, Memes, Charts, Quotes and other sleek, muscular and faster things
Some Guild Big Announcements & Shiny Things
Chart of the Week:
Lexicon — Word of the Week:
We love us some tennis but we’ve got to admit, the scoring system can be a bit confusing. As tennis fans will know, the term love is used to describe a score of zero but no one knows for sure why. If you’re scratching your head, this will at least offer one explanation for how it got into the sport: Some credit a mispronunciation of the French word “l’oeuf,” meaning egg or goose egg, which is slang for zero — The Hufington Post
Sports Movies of Note Streaming on Netflix:
Meme of the Week:
Sport of the Week - Kabaddi
Viewable on ESPN8 — If you have never seen Kabaddi, you have never seen it.
The ancient sport that mixes tag, wrestling, rugby and chanting
I used to play kabaddi in gym class, and I have to say, we all hated it. The boys preferred soccer or cricket while the…
Video of the Week:
I’m really not crying, it’s allergies.
Inspirational Video of All Time:
So many to choose from, but for me Jim Valvano does it — I’ll let Jimmy V tell his story, and its a good one.
A Very Honourable Runner Up:
The Discussion, Debate and Donnybrook:
Join us on Clubhouse this Sunday the 8th, May, 2002 at 8am PST | 11am EST | 4pm GMT| 5pm SAST to make sense of it all, have your say and engage with your favourite Grey Swan Guild Wrap Editors: Doyle Buehler, Sylvia Gallusser, Sean Moffitt, Agustín Borrazás, Rob Tyrie, Ben Thurman, Antonia Nicols Esmee Wilcox, Louise Mowbray, Geeta Dhir, Gina Clifford, Su McVey with Clubhouse Captains Howard Fields, Scott Phares and Lindsay Fraser.
Seven debates that may raise the pulse of our people:
- The Olympics — the best of us or bloated nationalistic endeavour
- Transgendered Athlete Competition — great for diversity & inclusion or unfair to elite female athletes
- American or European Football — round ball vs. oblong ball
- Favoured fitness place — Home Gym/Cave, Boutique Gym, Yoga Escape, Park, Arena, Diamond, Pitch, Court, Course, Garden, Trail, Mountain, Waves
- eSports — competition and drama alongside the best of all sports or not real sports
- How to save baseball among Gen Zs and Generation Alpha
- Favourite active weekend wear — Nike, Adidas, Puma, Reebok, Asics, Lululemon, Under Armour, Patagonia, North Face (or go off the board)
Next week’s wrap edition Vol 2: Edition 19, May 15, 2022 is on ….. T+B+D.
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Our craft-building series will host two discussions on Complexity — Mastermind (Thursday) and Design Thinking — Clubhouse (Friday).
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12 New ventures from Grey Swan Guild — new Cygnus page is on the way:
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